Clarifying Just How Exclusive The Xbox Series X’s Third-Party Exclusives Are

Clarifying Just How Exclusive The Xbox Series X’s Third-Party Exclusives Are
Image: The Gunk / Image & Form

The idea of an “exclusive” has always been imaginary — or at least ephemeral — in the world of video games, but in 2020, it’s less real than ever. Today, Microsoft seemingly announced several new third-party Xbox exclusives. That are coming to multiple generations of Xbox. And also PC. And probably other consoles too, in the future.

During a segment toward the end of the Xbox Games Showcase, Xbox head of partnerships Sarah Bond introduced a procession of games that “are being built to launch exclusively on Xbox consoles.” These games were:

  • STALKER 2

  • Warhammer 40,000 Darktide

  • Tetris Effect: Connected

  • The Gunk

  • The Medium

  • CrossfireX

  • Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis

Each game’s trailer was preceded by the phrase “console launch exclusive.”

Of these, only one, The Gunk, has gone so far as to just straight up call itself an exclusive. The Gunk is a new action-adventure-survival-craft-probably-other-verbs-too game from the developers of the SteamWorld series. It’s coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC in fall of 2021, and it’s not going anywhere else.

“It’ll be Xbox exclusive, period,” a representative of the game’s publisher, Thunderful, told Kotaku in an email. “It’s all about the power of the hardware and what The Gunk requires. We’re really happy with the support from the Xbox team so far.”

On the other end of that spectrum, Tetris Effect: Connected already has a release window on other platforms. While it’ll be coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC later this year, it’ll be out (as a free update to Tetris Effect) on PS4, Epic Games Store, and Oculus Quest in summer of 2021.

Other games occupy a mushier space. Warhammer 40k Darktide, which I can’t believe they didn’t call Left 40k Dead, will be exclusive to Xbox Series X and PC at launch in 2021, but its future is sounding pretty open-ended.

“At this time we are announcing Xbox Series X and Windows PC platforms,” a representative of developer Fatshark told Kotaku in an email. “We will discuss other platforms and their availability at a future date.”

The Medium, a new dual-world horror game from the makers of Layers of Fear, Observer, and Blair Witch that’s coming out this holiday season, is in a similar boat.

“The game will release exclusively on Xbox Series X and PC at launch,” a representative of developer Bloober Team told Kotaku in an email. “Other consoles at this time are not confirmed.”

Long-awaited survival sequel STALKER 2 — which shocked everyone today by existing after a decade of insubstantial teases — is, according to a press release, “coming first to Xbox Series X as a console launch exclusive.” In other words, it’s probably coming to other consoles later. And of course, it’s launching on PC as well, because STALKER is one of the most PC-arse gaming series out there. It does not currently have a release date.

CrossfireX, a new version of a PC military shooter that’s massively popular in China and Korea, and Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis remain up in the air. CrossfireX is coming to Xbox One and Xbox Series X sometime this year, while Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis is either a whole new game or merely an update depending on whether you listen to the series’ Twitter account or YouTube channel. Both are launching on Xbox platforms, but while Kotaku reached out to their respective publishers for more information, Crossfire’s did not reply, and Phantasy Star’s merely pointed to preexisting information across social channels.

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